You may have noticed that I skipped a couple of letters, but that is because I am so excited that my book is coming out soon! There are links at the bottom of this post to find out more about it, and how you can pre-order it, and in the meantime I have been posting more about it on social media and have been joining in some great conversations. And this blog post was inspired by one such conversation, and my evening walk.
A few days ago, a friend of mine expressed concern about the fact that she feels as if she doesn’t express emotions like some of the other people she knows - perhaps she doesn’t show great enthusiasm even though she is genuinely excited. I can understand what she means - I sometimes feel the same way, and just this morning I had a conversation with my sister about the very same thing! But when I heard her concerns, what I really thought about was a show that I recently watched on Netflix called “Very British Problems” that I discovered some time ago. In it, they highlighted some of the very British problems such as “pretending I have heard someone when I haven’t” or “someone called me by the wrong name and I was too polite and British to correct them”. In fact I heard someone say earlier today that if this carries on long enough - you can’t correct what they call you - you must change your name by deed poll. The thing I loved about this show was how comforted I felt to know that there was an entire society out there that had the same insecurities I had! I had the thought - I don’t have a personality disorder - I’m just British!!
On a more serious note - this highlights a lesson I learned from travelling to and living in different parts of the world - and that is the number of cultural and personality differences that exist. Some behaviours that are inappropriate in one culture are at home in another. I was even having this conversation with a friend who lives in the USA a few days ago, when I tried to explain to her that dentists in Barbados (and in the UK when I was there) don’t advertise. She was flabbergasted - just as flabbergasted as I was when I visited the states and saw a 20 foot billboard with someone’s smile on it, and the address of a dentist down the street. I realized that sometimes our opinions about how we feel about ourselves, our lives and our achievements are based in comparison. We look around us and if we don’t see people who we believe we things in common with, we start to worry that there is something wrong with us. But where are we looking? Social media? TV? Those media may not be giving us an accurate picture of how people truly are, and we may find ourselves trying to live up to unrealistic expectations.
I get how difficult it is to feel as if you are not seeing yourself represented in the people around you… when you don’t see people who look or sound or act like you, and you start to wonder if there is something wrong with you. And I am here to tell you first and foremostly - there is nothing wrong with you! Somewhere out there are people who when you meet them will feel like your long lost friends, and in whom you will see your personality traits. As I like to say - Everything is a thing!! So whatever it is that you feel or are interested in - it is a thing and there are other people out there with whom you’ll fit right in. And the second thing I will say was summarized nicely by one of my favourite people Brené Brown. “Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.” This one takes courage, but if we can step out from behind how we want to appear to others, and show ourselves, we may find that the people who are just like us are closer than we think - as the people around us feel safe to step out and be vulnerable too.
So perhaps if you feel as if you stick out like a sore thumb where you are - you possibly haven’t found your home or your people yet. And if you are lucky like me - you’ll find a whole society of them are waiting for you to join them. And if you want to read more about my journey of discovering that “Everything is a thing” then pre-order my book (of the same name) here!!!
I send you big love from a small island.
PS I took those photos above on my walk this evening. It was a reminder of how many different coloured hibiscuses there are, and how beautiful.